Blomquist: u201cWe're likely not completely out of the woods with foreclosure starts.u201d<@SM>Despite the national decrease in foreclosure activity, this activity increased from a year ago in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Nine states posted 12-month highs in foreclosure activity in November.<@SM>South Carolina's REO filings increased 232% over a year ago, and the state holds one of the highest foreclosure rates at one in 455 housing units. California, at one in 430 housing units with a foreclosure filing, was another state with a high rate.<@SM>The Florida foreclosure rate ranked the highest among the states for the third month in a row. One in every 304 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in Novemberu2014more than twice the national average.

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IRVINE, CA-While foreclosure starts dropped 28% from a year ago to a 71-month low, the number of bank repossessions increased annually for the first time since October 2010, reports RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties. The firm’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for November 2012 showed foreclosure filings decreased 3% from October and 19% from November 2011, but US bank repossessions increased 11% from the previous month and 5% from November 2011, a nine-month high.

“The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac, in a prepared statement. “But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago—and much longer in some cases. We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement, along with various state laws and court rulings.”

As GlobeSt.com previously reported, nationwide, the number of properties sold during third-quarter 2012 that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned REO increased 21% over the previous quarter, although that number is still down 3% from third-quarter 2011, according to a report from RealtyTrac. The report also showed that foreclosure-related sales accounted for 19% of all US residential sales during Q3, down from 20% in the previous quarter but the same level as in third-quarter 2011.

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*Charts courtesy of RealtyTrac. For the complete report, click here.